The flooding was the result of a thunderstorm that pounded central Arizona Saturday while more than a hundred people were gathered at the Cold Springs Swimming Hole, Water Wheel Fire and Medical District Fire Chief Ron Sattelmaier told the Associated Press.
Four bodies were recovered overnight, including two children, Fox 10 reported, citing the sheriff's office.
Police are still searching for a 27-year-old man after Sunday's flash flooding at the Cold Springs Swimming Hole. The recovery was almost two miles down the river from the swimming hole and the victims included a 60-year-old woman and a two-year-old girl.
They have not been named by authorities. Two adults and two children rescued by helicopter Saturday were taken to the hospital for hypothermia.
The floods occurred when a thunder storm struck part of Ellison Creek, eight miles north of the hole, sending water rushing downstream.
"They had no warning".
Almost an inch of rain is believed to have fallen between 1:15 p.m. and 3:55 p.m. local time on Saturday, according to the Automated Weather Observation Station in Payson, just south of the swimming hole.
Soon, there were videos posted in social media which captured the deadly flash floods in the area. It happens every year.
Deputies said they received a 911 call at 3:19 p.m. Saturday about people missing.
"I'm just lucky to be alive", Sandoval said.
Disa Alexander's footage showed a man in a tree holding his baby as water rushed around him. His wife was a short way away, also clinging to a tree.
"The clouds over on the other side of the mountain can be dumping buckets, and all of a sudden there's a wall of water coming through that just wipes out everything in its path", said Stevens, who has lived in the area for 20 years. Visitors are reminded to be vigilant about the weather, he said. Farther up the canyon narrows and becomes rockier, its walls steeper. The severe thunderstorm was located in a remote area that had been burned by a recent wildfire, Sattelmaier said.
"If it's an intense burn, it creates a glaze on the surface that just repels water", said Darren McCollum, a meteorologist. There are past instances like the one in 2015 in Utah's Zion National Park where the toll was seven.